When I made this there was a gun to my head. I was brought to a room with no windows and bare walls. The candy was in a bowl at the center, with a small pile of poster board and 3 pens nearby. He gave me 3 hours, which would have been fine but I was shaky and afraid.
With hands around my neck he explained that two signs were needed. They should be nearly identical but include slight variations. He said that he was a general manager at Red Robin, that he had just attended a corporate training and development event, that this event had gone very well, that he wanted to thank the team he worked with that week for making it such a rewarding experience.
“This is very important,” his grip on my throat loosened as he spoke “I want you to use the candy…” I relaxed a bit in his arms as deeper breaths became possible “…in place of some of the words.” He struck me hard with the back of his hand and I fell to the floor.
Rising with some effort, I grabbed a blue pen and spread the poster board before me. I turned my head to vomit, unleashing a dull pink pool next to the candy bowl. I braced for punishment but no blows came to me, perhaps because none of the bare signage was affected. Bringing the pen to the top of the poster board I hesitated…. where to start? Waiting for my hands to steady, I managed to scrawl a tidy “Thanks” in the upper right corner.
My aggressor let out a startling moan. I could not say whether the sound was born from pain or pleasure. I finished two more words, taking my time for proper spelling and careful spacing. Every letter caused a visceral reaction in my assailant. I did not understand, but since no violence was coming to me I continued in the same fashion for a moment before turning my attention to the candy bowl. I shuffled through the boxes, my handling of them causing a physical response in him as I considered each candy title for potential word replacement.
“Would you say your team members were Hot Tamales?”
His eyes rolled back in his head. Writhing in pleasure, his gun fell to the floor as I taped the king size package to the top of the sign. Seeing an opportunity I nearly attempted escape. But honestly….. I was so tired. I managed to finish both signs in the time allotted to me.
Along the way inspiration came more easily, coming up with fun use of the candy names became almost second nature by the end. The threat of violence also receded over time with each thankful word and treat placement. My attacker met each with grand spasms and sensual outbursts.
When the second sign was completed his mood changed abruptly. Solemn and unspeaking he composed himself and stood before me. He was still for a moment before gathering the project in his arms and looking directly in to my eyes. I held his gaze, guessing it was the right thing to do, trying to match his deranged rhythm. We stayed that way, still and unblinking, for some time. He ended it with a slight, almost imperceptible movement that I took to be a small bow, before turning away and leaving the room.
I sat there in a haze for what could have been minutes or hours. Battered, my head throbbing, I stood and made my exit with trembling steps. I kept walking, out of the dark and foreign building and on to the road outside. Perhaps in shock, I walked for some time before becoming fully aware of my surroundings. Noticing I was not far from home, I began to make my way. I deflected the concern from passerby and turned down their offers for aid. In time I came to my front door. Dehydrated, demoralized, I turned the key and stepped inside.
“Alexa” I said through tears in my foyer “play Starboy by The Weeknd”
you are a good art friend